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metal talk
Johnny Main
3rd January 2017

hair metal heaven

It might have slipped by you without a passing thought, but back in 2013 Hull was announced as the winner of UK City Of Culture 2017, only the second city in the UK to be named, after Londonderry in 2013. The award is given every four years to a city that demonstrates the belief in the transformational power of culture, and Hull is revelling in the attention already.

Not only has recording and producing legend Jeff Lynne and his band announced a gig there at the KCOM Stadium on Saturday 1st July, but the recently announced Hair Metal Heaven Festival is sure to keep those in and around Hull rocking until the early hours.

The Hair Metal Heaven Festival has a very eighties feel to it, as the team behind it explained:

"The eighties were golden years and hair Metal was our music of choice. Thanks to magazines like Sounds and Kerrang! a whole new genre of Metal coming out of LA that was later to be dubbed as Hair Metal - the hairstyles were bigger, the riffs were way sleazier, the songs were louder and the content of the lyrics were all about getting laid - something we knew nothing about and were definitely interested in.

"Its these happy memories that prompted us to begin this journey with our festival - Hair Metal Heaven. We want to embrace the culture that existed back then, to bring the ambience, the passion, the energy and the excitement of a real rock'n'roll festival to your front door."

With this ethos, the first tranche of bands have been announced including a rare UK appearance for Danish rockers D-A-D. Originally named Disneyland After Dark but later renamed D-A-D, the band are often categorized as melodic heavy rock. They made their international breakthrough in 1989 with the 'No Fuel Left For The Pilgrims' album which was released on the band's fifth anniversary. The album became their biggest success and saw them sign a million dollar contract with Warner Bros. They were poised for huge success in the United States but the breakthrough didn't happen, however D-A-D have achieved cult status since with a succession of studio albums including 'Helpyourselfish', 'Everything Glows', 'Monster Philospohy Yourself' and their most recent album, 'DIC·NII·LAN·DAFT·ERD·ARK'

Joining them will be the original line-up of Princess Pang who have reformed just for the occasion. Hailing from hard rock bands based in New York City but featuring a mixture of American and Swedish musicians, Princess Pang were formed in 1985 and released a single album through Metal Blade Records titled 'Any Way You Want It', in 1989. Unfortunately, except for a little bit of attention garnered by its fine, catchy lead-off single, 'South St Kids', the album went largely unnoticed by consumers and Princess Pang soon split to pursue new and separate musical projects.

Smashed Gladys were an eighties glam Metal band, formed in 1984, who will play their only UK show of 2017 at Hair Metal Heaven. Originally featuring Sally Cato on vocals, Bart Lewis on lead guitar, JD Malo on bass, Matt Stelluto on drums and a succession of secondary guitar players (who, according to available credits, played some leads as well as rhythm) the band are all set to make a stellar appearance at the festival and try to recapture memories of their heyday.

Formed in Canada in 2006, Diemonds are a Juno Award nominated Canadian hard rock band fronted by Priya Panda who are also coming over to the UK to be part of the fun. Diemonds' second full-length album and latest effort, 'Never Wanna Die' was released back in August 2015 and was produced by multiple Juno award-winner Eric Ratz (Monster Truck, Arkells, Billy Talent). Remaining true to their sound, Diemonds take lyrics that speak to the outcasts, wild childs, and misfits and combines them with a hard-hitting live show, taking cues from the greats they look up to.

From Sweden comes Treat - a melodic Heavy Metal band who had international success in the late eighties with tracks like 'Get You On The Run', 'World Of Promises', 'Party All Over' and the classic 'Ready For The Taking'. The band served as the opening act for Queen in 1986 for their Swedish dates before opening for W.A.S.P. during their first ever Swedish tour.

Los Angeles is pretty much recognised as the home of hair Metal and is also where Leatherwolf call home. Formed in Huntington Beach, California in 1981, the group was nicknamed the 'Triple Axe Attack' for pioneering the use of a three-guitar line-up in Heavy Metal. Currently comprising vocalist and guitarist Michael Olivieri, guitarists Rob Math and Greg Erba, bassist Patrick Guyton, and drummer Dean Roberts, the band have released five studio albums.

The final band to be announced, so far, is Spread Eagle who hail from the opposite coast of the United States, in New York. After only a few months of rehearsal they were signed by MCA/Universal Records and subsequently released two albums, 'Spread Eagle' (1990) and 'Open To The Public' in 1993 before disbanding in 1995. However, they reformed in 2006 but this reformation was shortlived. Another reformation with a new line-up happened in 2011 and this will be their first proper tour of Europe for some time.

VIP tickets for Hair Metal Heaven go on sale on Wednesday 4th January and further details are available on the official Facebook event page but stay tuned to MetalTalk for more Hair Metal Heaven updates. In the meantime, the bill so far looks like this:

Disneyland After Dark
Princess Pang
Smashed Gladys
Spread Eagle

The Hair Metal Heaven Festival is being held right in the middle of Hull, at the City Hall and O'Riley's from 25th to 27th August 2017.


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